Andreas Gerster

University of Mannheim

Deliberate Ignorance and Moral Behavior (with Raphael Epperson, University of Innsbruck)

Policy makers and non-governmental organizations are concerned that consumers' deliberate ignorance about the consequences of their actions may limit prosocial behaviors. We test this concern in the context of food choices. We find that the avoidance of information about practices in intensive farming leads to higher meat consumption levels, both in the laboratory and in university canteens. Individuals who select out of information acquisition are particularly responsive to it and responses are only short-lived. Our results shed light on the optimal design of information interventions and explain why costless information provision is ineffective in moral contexts.

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